How to make Honey BBQ Wings in Air Fryer

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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If you’re on the hunt for a quick, crispy, flavorful chicken wing recipe, look no further! These honey BBQ chicken wings (made in the air fryer for super-efficient cooking) check all of the boxes.

White plate with BBQ chicken wings and sauce.

Air Fryer BBQ Wings

Whether for an appetizer at your next get together or as the protein main for a weeknight dinner, chicken wings are such an easy thing to whip up. I love this honey BBQ flavor variation – the sweet, tangy, slightly spicy combo makes my taste buds dance!

How long does it take to fry wings in an air fryer?

Air frying your chicken wings takes no more than 25 minutes. In fact, the chicken will technically be cooked in less time, but because we’re aiming for crispy-on-the-outside (and juicy-on-the-inside, of course) wings, we’ll let them cook for a tinge longer!

Ingredients for BBQ Chicken Wings in Air Fryer

The ingredients here are super simple. You’ll need wings (of course) and a few sauce ingredients. Here’s the full list:

  • Chicken Wings – to start, you’ll need 1½-2 pounds of chicken wings.
  • Sea Salt + Pepper – a ½ teaspoon of sea salt and a ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper will season the wings before they head into the air fryer.
  • BBQ Sauce – as for the sauce, you’ll start with a ¼ cup of BBQ sauce.
  • Honey – to sweeten the sauce, you’ll need 2 teaspoons of honey.
  • Dijon Mustard – 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard adds a nice tanginess to the finished honey BBQ sauce.
  • Hot Pepper Sauce (Optional) – though this is completely optional, a ½-1 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot) adds a yummy kick of spice to the wings.

Ingredient Modifications

Though this recipe is absolutely delicious as written, it can certainly be adapted to fit your tastes and preferences. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use thighs instead of wings: I know, this may sound like a REALLY huge modification, but it actually isn’t. If you don’t happen to have wings on hand (or you just aren’t a fan), pull out some chicken thighs instead. Because we’re going for a slightly different texture here, I actually recommend marinating your chicken thighs for 30 minutes (or up to overnight) in the honey BBQ sauce before air frying them. I’ve had great success air frying chicken thighs at 400°F for 12 minutes.
  • Swap the sauce: not a fan of honey BBQ? No problem. Swap the sauce for buffalo or lemon pepper instead.
  • Use a dry rub: if a liquid-style sauce isn’t your thing, you can absolutely use a dry rub instead. Just rub 1 tablespoon of your favorite seasoning blend (I especially love Balanced Bites Ranch and Coffee BBQ for this application) onto the chicken wings before you pop them into the air fryer.

Supplies Needed to Make this Recipe

How To Make BBQ Wings in Air Fryer

The air fryer has this magical ability to make things super easy (while also delivering superb results), am I right? Here’s how you’ll use it to make the best ever honey BBQ chicken wings:

  1. Preheat the air fryer – if your air fryer requires it (some do, some don’t), go ahead and preheat it to 400°F.
  2. Season the wings – pat the wings dry and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Air fry – place the seasoned wings in the air fryer pretty-side up (being careful not to overlap them — work in batches if needed!) and cook at 400°F for 10 minutes.
  4. Flip and continue cooking – once 10 minutes are up, flip the wings and let them cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook once more – to give the wings an extra crisp, flip them one more time (so that the pretty-side is face-up) and air fry for 5 more minutes.
  6. Make the sauce – while the wings are in the air fryer, add the BBQ sauce, honey, dijon mustard, and (optional) hot pepper sauce to a large bowl and whisk until combined. Note: the bowl will seem way too big for the amount of sauce you’re making, but using a large bowl now will keep you from having more dirty dishes later! 
  7. Toss the wings in the sauce – once the wings are out of the air fryer, add them to the large bowl of sauce, and toss the wings in the sauce until fully coated!
  8. Serve and enjoy!
White plate with raw chicken wings, sea salt jar, and pepper grinder.
Pyrex. glass measuring cup with BBQ sauce ingredients combined.
Air fryer drawer with air fried chicken wings.
White plate with BBQ chicken wings and sauce.

What to serve with Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings

If I’m serving these as an appetizer next to a spread of other delicious finger foods (think: cream cheese bacon dates, chips and guacamole, and hummus and veggies), I’ll typically whip up my favorite chicken wing dipping sauce (THIS super simple ranch dressing) to go alongside them.

If I’m serving these as the main component of a meal, I’ll typically whip up some sort of starchy side (almost always potato wedges or sweet potato fries) and a green veggie side (usually a simple salad).

Storing and Reheating Leftover BBQ Chicken Wings

Store your leftover BBQ chicken wings in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat them in a 350°F air fryer (being careful that they don’t overlap) for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

White plate with BBQ chicken wings and sauce.

Air Fryer BBQ Wings FAQs

How many chicken wings can be cooked at once in the air fryer?

The answer will vary from air fryer to air fryer, as ultimately, it depends on the size of your air fryer basket. You’ll want to make sure that your chicken wings are not overlapping – this will cause them to be less than crispy and may even compromise cooking in general. 

Can you make frozen BBQ Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer? How is the cooking time different?

Sure! Though my personal preference is fresh chicken wings (I find that the salt and pepper stick to fresh wings better than frozen + fresh wings also tend to get a better crisp on them) you can absolutely use frozen wings in the air fryer if you’d like. Keep in mind that frozen chicken wings will take slightly longer to cook than fresh, so you’ll want to add anywhere from 6-10 minutes onto the cooking time, and be sure to check to see if they’re fully cooked through before digging in!

Can you use sauce in an air fryer?

I don’t recommend it. The reason we cook our chicken wings ahead of tossing them with the sauce is to really help dry out the skin and get it nice and crispy. Tossing your wings before cooking them may cause a soggier end product.

More Chicken Wing Recipes

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Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings

If you’re on the hunt for a quick, crispy, flavorful chicken wing recipe, look no further! These honey BBQ chicken wings (made in the air fryer for super-efficient cooking) check all of the boxes.

 

  • Author: Cassy Joy Garcia
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½-1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pat the wings dry and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Place the seasoned wings in the air fryer pretty-side up (being careful not to overlap them — work in batches if needed!) and cook at 400°F for 10 minutes.

  3. Once 10 minutes are up, flip the wings and let them cook for another 10 minutes.

  4. Flip them one more time (so that the pretty-side is face-up) and air fry for 5 more minutes.

  5. While the wings are in the air fryer, add the BBQ sauce, honey, dijon mustard, and (optional) hot pepper sauce to a large bowl and whisk until combined.

  6. Once the wings are out of the air fryer, add them to the large bowl of sauce, and toss the wings in the sauce until fully coated!

  7. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Note: The bowl in step 6 will seem way too big for the amount of sauce you’re making, but using a large bowl now will keep you from having more dirty dishes later! 

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